50th Anniversary

McHenry County Conservation District 50th logo with confetti
McHenry County Conservation District Celebrates 50 Years!
It was April of 1971 when McHenry County Conservation District was formed by a successful county-wide referendum and then formally organized in July 1971. The Conservation District founders envisioned a public agency that would preserve and protect the land and the water they loved and lived on, while promoting a way of life they cherished, and establishing a place that could be shared with the wildlife around them.

During this 50th anniversary year, we celebrate and recognize the milestones and accomplishments achieved, the many partnerships that help bring projects to life, and most importantly the citizens and taxpayers of McHenry County who placed their trust in the Conservation District to bring vision of our founders to life!

Throughout the past 50 years, McHenry County Conservation District has secured and protected more than 25,600 acres, diverse with woodlands, wetlands, prairies, creeks and rivers that afford habitat for a wide array of plant and animal species, as well as numerous endangered and threatened species. Today, McHenry County Conservation Areas offer residents wide open spaces at 35 sites to enjoy  outdoor recreational pursuits on 103 miles of hiking trails45 miles of biking trails25 fishing areas6 campgrounds6 canoe launches, 45 miles of horse trails, and 18 reservable picnic shelters, as well as a multitude of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Help Celebrate this Milestone! Throughout the District’s 50th year of service to McHenry County, join us for a variety of programs and a myriad of outdoor adventures for all ages like: Hike for the Health of It, Trail Riders-a 50 mile ride, Fall History Hikes, Family Scavenger Hunts, and a 50th themed geocaching coin. In addition outdoor First Fridays summer concerts are back, plus Pedal, Paddle Saddle, Hooked on Fishing, summer day camps, and The Great Outdoors Beer Trail. There are new art exhibits planned, historic open houses, a commemorative anniversary book, and the long-anticipated opening of the Passport to Lost Valley Adventure exhibit at Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park. 

History Unfolds - Our Beginnings

A Half Century of Land Protection

Bitten by the Outdoor Bug - Where my Love of the Outdoors Began

Key Milestones Timeline

The Early Years - 1971s & 1980sFulfilling the Dream

Growing Years 1990s & 2000sMaking a Last Impression on the Landscape

Engaging Years  2010 - 2021Fostering a Sense of Community

Enhancing Visitor Experiences

Cultural History

Leadership Through the Years

Connections in Conservation

Behind the Scenic Views